A violent carjacking ring that was operating in metro Atlanta has been smashed, thanks to the joint work of local police departments.
Six suspects are in custody, and more may have been involved, in the robberies which took place in recent weeks in multiple jurisdictions.
The first was in late December, followed by others in January. Police quickly realized they were looking for a criminal operation, and not individual carjackers.
"Several of these carjackings had similarities and had components that linked them to additional other robberies and additional other carjackings," says Atlanta Police Lieutenant Paul Guerrucci.
"Generally the way the carjackings are occurring, there are multiple suspects and a weapon is used," he says. "The car is then taken by force."
In custody are as follows:
- Ladarius Gibbs- 21
- Derek Turner-19
- Brandon Washington-21
- Andre Clark-24
- Rapheal Banks-24
- Ronald Washington-21
Police say they are responsible for violent carjackings in the city of Atlanta, along with DeKalb, Cobb and Gwinnett Counties.
Investigators are now looking into whether the suspects might have been involved in other violent crimes.
"We have received information that this group may have some connection to some possible homicides," says Guerrucci.
Among the carjackings the ring is accused of pulling off was one that was actually three hold-ups. It began in midtown Atlanta, continued on the I-75/85 connector after they crashed, and then went to the parking lot of the Wal-Mart in Stone Mountain. During that carjacking a Wal-Mart employee was shot in the leg,
According to police, the six known Atlanta carjackings were:
- 12/29/2012 - 97 Estoria Street SE
- 1/2/2013 - Northside Parkway
- 1/11/2013 - 42 11th Street
- 1/11/2013 - I-75/85 Southbound near Williams Street
- 1/12/2013 - 564 Gresham Avenue SE
- 1/19/2013 - 575 Gresham Avenue SE
Police say there were other carjackings in other jurisdictions, including the robbery at the Wal-Mart.
All six suspects are charged in Atlanta with robbery and carjacking. Investigators looking into the possibility they may have been involved in armed pedestrian robberies, as well.
They all face additional charges in DeKalb, Cobb and Gwinnett Counties.